Archive for June, 2009


Behold the Tent

booth 047I feel like a real grown-up professonal craftsperson now.  Or maybe a circus freak.  Because we are now the proud owners of a big, white, Trimline tent.  It arrived Wednesday and we just couldn’t wait to set it up on the back deck.   Well, actually we could wait, preferably until after the outdoor temperature dipped below 70 and the mosquitos stopped swarming.   Like November.  But I’ll be needing a booth shot for future art fair applications before then, so as long as we’re making sure it all works…

It went up surprisingly easily.  Not something I want to attempt every weekend, but in under two hours, with additional time to screw the columns together.  But still, too much effort went into this to let it go unobserved by all but some bewildered squirrels and chipmunks.  So of course we had to throw a tent party the next night to christen it.  And this puppy’s so solid, the champagne bottle broke on the first try.  Just kidding.  St Louis Art Fair, here we come.

Mmmmm, still has that new tent smell…


Fobot 200

harold_hill2Let us now take a moment to welcome the 200th Fobot into the world.  Meet “Harold Hill”.  Musical theatre fans will recognize him as the lead character in “The Music Man”.  Some of you have already started humming “76 Trombones”.  The truly nerdy have bypassed “76 Trombones” and “Trouble in River City” and have proceeded directly to “Shi-Poo-Pi”, a song for which there is no excuse.  But I digress…

Harold stands 19.5″ tall, from the car lens on the top of his toy coffee pot head, to his jello mold feet.  In between, there are clock gears, a rhinestone brooch, wrenches, a pocket watch movement, hydraulic fittings and valve springs.  And, of course, the Mattel Merry Music Box, with its charming and colorful graphics of a charming and colorful stereotypically ethnic Italian organ grinder and his monkey.  Many years ago, a child would hang this music box from a string around his/her neck, and turn a crank on the right side to play a tune until adults in the vicinity went mad and paid him/her to stop FOR GOD’S SAKE STOP!  In this case, the tune is “The Farmer in the Dell”.  Would have been better with “Shi-Poo-Pi”.

You won’t be seeing “Harold Hill” or many of his really cool brothers and sisters on  In fact, you won’t see many available bots at all on the website.  Between saving bots to bring to the St. Louis Art Fair and filling reorders from galleries, fresh Fobots are in short supply.  And I know St. Louis is still 3 months away, but if I don’t start holding some Fobots back, we’re going to look pretty stupid standing there in an empty tent.


Where Women Create Fobots

workshop 002First off, I want you to look at this picture, and then scroll down to “What. A. Dump.” and compare.

Back now?  Good.  Because this all happened in ten days.  Ten long, grueling, backbreaking days.  And it is sooooooooo worth it.

Jo Packham, editor, and Ryne Hazen, photographer, stopped by last Thursday to cover my studio for the magazine “Where Women Create”.  I’d met Jo over a year ago, in the dark ages when I was exhibiting at licensing shows, and she liked my work and the pictures I’d sent of my illustration studio.  She had NO IDEA about the Fobots, and let’s just say she hadn’t seen anything like them or the workshop where I make them.  In fact, her exact words upon seeing the workshop were “Oh my god.  We are going to have to bump you up.”  Apparently, each issue has to be carefully balanced to avoid featuring too many studios that look the same.  No problem there–this place doesn’t look like ANYWHERE else.

workshop 003The walls are blue now, and have robots drawn on them in chalk to look like blueprints.  My talented friend Lisa Stewart, of EC Stewart Designs, has a fabulous video on her blog that shows you how to add unsanded grout to flat latex paint to turn any surface into a chalkboard.  Check it out for yourself at . Two project tables from Pier One have been upfitted with wooden boxes to hold all of the small stuff, and are topped by a recent flea market find–a library card catalog for the even smaller stuff.  The lovely and talented Phil hung some of our trade show track lighting over the workbench, which now has a formica surface that is –thank god–impervious to all the liquids I keep spilling on it.  There’s a cool new ceiling fan that’s very deco/robot looking.  And two steel shelving units hold all of the crap that once covered the floor.

So I lost ten days of production.  Big deal.  I can now ACTUALLY FIND STUFF, and the time spent cursing and searching for that thing, ya know, that thing with the dial and the knobs….that’s been cut waaaay down.

June 2009

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